AIUB wins the clash of the titansMahfuz Mizan
THE Grand Finale of MusicON, an inter-university music competition held at Saffron Garden in the capital Dhaka on February 7, provided a refreshing break for students of public and private universities, who had to spend most of the past few months largely confined to their homes, thanks to the increasingly volatile and violent political situation in the run-up to, and in the immediate aftermath of, the general elections.
7teen Events, the event management firm that organised the competition, which provides a platform for local university students to showcase their talents, had made sure that the grand finale lived up to its billing. The entire venue was draped in black cloth, giving the right background for the lighting. The main stage adorned with powerful amplifiers and different special effects gadgets. On its left was a raised platform for the enthusiastic spectators to display their dance moves. Then, of course, there were interactive gaming consoles for the audience.
MusicON 2013 had members of the rock band Shunno on the judge’s panel; this year, their place was taken by members of the alternative rock band Nemesis along with Efaz R Khan from Circus Police and renowned dance artiste Shompreeti Ahmed. ‘7teen Events thought of bringing bands like Shunno and Nemesis because the current generation is more attracted to them,’ says Sheehan Rahman, a founding partner of the event management firm.
Four universities—defending champions Brac University, South east University, American International University, Bangladesh and East West University—vied for glory in MusicON 2014. Each was given 30 minutes to perform; they also presented their music videos. ‘Likes’ on Facebook and votes via SMS determined their chances to win.
The show started on the wrong foot though, thanks to a power outage. However, once the electric supply was restored, there was no turning back. The tones and tunes of the performers, accompanied by special effects such as flares of flame, enthralled the audience.
‘After the power cut I actually didn’t expect much but, hats off to 7teen Events, the whole concert turned out to be mind-blowing,’ says Faizur Rahman, a student of North South University.
Each of the contestants had their unique signatures. Southeast had its violin solo, AIUB its blend of patriotism, East West its light-studded robot dancers and Brac University, its Faceless dance group. Their performances made the job difficult for the judges.
‘I honestly didn’t expect such performances,’ says Zerif Ahmed, a guitarist with Nemesis. ‘I was even surprised to see so many people turn up for the show. I was blown away by every single performance, especially the ones by Brac University and East West University. Those were the best 30 minutes of my life. I wish good luck to all the participants and always remember that there’s always a next time.’
The universities covered diverse genres of music along with a Nemesis song in their performance.
Even the cheering of the crowds differed from time to time as the university students created a mosh-pit when their respective university performed as well as cheer and claps rocked the venue.
There were some in the audience who did not root for any team.
‘I was bored and my friends insisted that I go to MusicON,’ says Shafab Aariz of North South University. ‘My university wasn’t there but once I watched the performances, I realised that there was more to it than rooting for your university. It was paradise for a music enthusiast!’
After the universities performed, Nemesis rocked the stage with some of their popular tracks. Shortly afterwards the verdict was announced and American International University Bangladesh, was crowned the winners; the defending champions Brac University were runners up.
‘AIUB focused on patriotic songs which caught everyone’s attention,’ Rafid Ahnaf, a student of BRAC University, says. ‘MusicON is dedicated to musical performances but AIUB’s song selection was poor and some songs were below average. I feel AIUB didn’t deliver a winning performance.’
The words from a losing side, perhaps, but nonetheless a pointer to how competitive MusicON has really become.
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